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KAIA O. ‘23


girl smiles from the 2nd floor lobby at Tampa Prep

Meet Kaia

Womens’ rights have always been important to me. I listen to people talk on TV or in general and I think–why do people say all those little, offensive microaggressions about women that have become so normalized in our society? Like, I look at my mother and think of all the ways people could label her because she’s a woman. We moved here from Cincinnati, OH, several years ago and my mom bought a fitness studio. She has recently faced trials with her business because of coronavirus, and it’s been inspiring to see how she runs a business and overcomes all of this craziness while raising three kids. She’s incredible. 

People could look at her and think, “she’s a wife, a mother, a business owner… she has it all!” But women haven’t achieved equality in our society. There are so many things that are often overlooked such as the gender pay gap, the pink tax, women being underrepresented in the government and women being at a greater risk of harassment and trafficking. 

So I’ve educated myself on these issues, and now I want to be an advocate and a voice for other women. Last June my friend and I created an Instagram account called @empoweringwomentampabay to share these issues and also to lift up and empower women.

Our goal is to expand Empowering Women Tampa Bay into an organization in support of other nonprofit women’s organizations that help out women in need and raise awareness of women’s rights.

Last year was my first year at Tampa Prep and I love how everyone is so driven and strives to be great. This is my first time being in a school environment where everyone wants to succeed. It’s so cool to see everyone trying their best every day, myself included. Here, I feel like I can be anything, a singer, an astronaut. Mr. Hoy, my Chorus teacher, has always believed in me and encouraged me like no other teacher ever has. I’m very thankful for him. Between him and my parents, I have been given so many opportunities, which have made me as driven as I am. I’m not really scared of much. I’m more of a “whatever happens, happens for a reason” type of person. I can grow from every experience.

Kaia is also interested in

Andrew Hoy, Tampa Prep choral teacher

Mr. Andrew Hoy on Kaia

Kaia really impressed me off the bat because she has an amazing focus and maturity that most people her age do not. I saw leadership qualities in the chorus rehearsals where she would even be a leader to the juniors and seniors in that class (as a freshman). One of the things that’s important for students to be successful is having a great attitude, being willing to work hard on a regular basis, and that’s Kaia. She’s such a focused worker and really amazingly talented and humble at the same time. She came to Tampa Prep with a lot of vocal experience, as someone who has sung in opera workshops, and she was able to work with students who came from different backgrounds really well. I love that about her too.

One thing that impressed me about her–in eighth grade she made the all state chorus. This past year she worked really hard, but was not selected for the high school Chorus, which is very difficult to do as a freshman, because they’re competing against seniors. Her response when she didn’t make it? Her attitude was just, “I’m gonna get it. I’ll keep working at it and get it next year.” She wasn’t defeated. I saw so much resilience and grit. 

I’m confident she’s going to achieve that goal in the near future because of her talent. Some students give up when they don’t achieve their goals right away–but her attitude in that situation is exactly what we want Tampa Prep students to be; kids who just keep going even when things don’t go their way. She has an ability that not even many adults do:  to face disappointment and shortcomings but continue to go for her goals, not just in music or school, but in life.